Contouring is one of the best makeup techniques around, and it's just as timeless as cat eyes or red lipstick. Regardless of what people may tell you, it wasn’t invented by Kim Kardashian and her beloved celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. In fact, the method has been used for decades on everybody from old Hollywood stars to Rupaul's drag queens to modern-day influencers. And we see why, as contouring is focused on sculpting, defining, and highlighting your best features to enhance and upgrade your look. What’s not to love? To answer that question, it’s the occasionally “muddy” or unblended look that contouring can create… and it’s almost always due to people using the wrong shade for their skin tone. Not cute. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best contour makeup products that flatter each skin tone, and you can find your new favorites below!
“You can really create your own bronzer shade with this palette. I can go from summer to winter by mixing different shades.” If you’ve seen the ethereal highlighters from Anastasia Beverly Hills, you know you can trust the brand for instant complexion perfection. And the Contour Kit doesn’t disappoint! With six hues to contour and highlight like your favorite influencers, you can instantly define your eyes, cheeks, nose, jawlines and more. Without looking dirty or cakey. Contour Kit is designed for light to medium skin tones, with pale yellow and cream highlighters accompanied by warm sand, espresso, and russet contour powders to go full glam. There’s no denying the power of an ABH palette, and your pale-skinned contour looks will be on lock with this cult favorite.
Those with pale skin understand the struggle of contour makeup. When it looks good, it’s really good. However, things like choosing the wrong color or not blending enough can be a major disaster. You want to look defined and dreamy, not dirty! Kevyn Aucoin knows the deal, which is why the brand developed The Sculpting Powder for those with fair skin. This matte, mega-pigmented powder glides on effortlessly to create the chiseled cheekbones of your dreams. Along with a slimmer nose, smaller forehead, or sharp jawline that would even make beauty influencers jealous. And the lightweight, smooth texture means that you’ll never have to worry about unblended contour again. Ugh. The Sculpting Contour Powder isn’t just the ideal product for fair skin, it’s also top-rated by MIRA guests for being creamy, blendable, long lasting and lightweight!
Medium skin tones are both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, your not-quite-pale and not-quite-tan skin is extremely common, and you have plenty of gorgeous beauty products at your fingertips. However, it becomes a bit difficult to shop for complexion makeup as seasons change, and your skin tone does too. That’s why you need the right contour palettes that let you build up or tone down color depending on how pale (or not) you are - like the Contour Palette in Light/Medium by e.l.f.! At just $8, this palette is a major steal… with two contours and two highlighters that you can customize to match your skin tone. Opt for the deeper shades for the summer when you have a tan, or use the lighter shades for a more subtle contour on the days you’re feeling like minimal makeup. Whichever you choose, your skin will always be taken care of - as all four of these powders are infused with skincare ingredients like Vitamin E to nourish skin while creating a killer contour. 92% of our MIRA community says that these powders are blendable, while 86% agree that they’re creamy.
“This is the best bronzer hands down!!! Very buildable! And super pigmented! Blends extremely well! It’s been my fave for years! Always in my makeup bag!” Yes, there are a lot of exclamation points in this MIRA review… but they’re earned. Hoola Matte Bronzer is truly the real deal for medium skin tones. You’ve seen influencers like Jaclyn Hill and Carli Bybel use it for contouring in their YouTube tutorials, as the neutral undertones and buildable texture makes Hoola ideal for this technique. You can produce subtle daytime looks when you’re in the mood for a quarantine makeup tutorial, or a dramatic evening contour for the virtual holiday party - and it will still look 100% natural. Always. Get a sunkissed glow and flawless contour year-round with this cult favorite beauty product - and top it off with a Benefit highlighter for influencer-worthy makeup looks!
Chocolate isn’t just a way to describe the rich brown shade that you sweep across your cheekbones, it also represents the cocoa powder in these colors. You know, to make you smell like a snack all the time - the Too Faced Way. This contour palette is extremely simple for all to use - with three contour powders and three matte highlighters divided by skin tone to lift cheekbones and give yourself the most snatched jawline, ever. Yes, there’s even a powder duo for medium skin, which is more rare than you may believe. And don’t think that the rest of these ultra-buildable, fallout-free powders will be going to waste. If you’re looking for a more natural contour on the nose, dip your makeup brush into the light contour, and go full glam for your Zoom call with the deeper and medium shades on your cheekbones. The six shades complement each other, and can be mixed and matched for your own custom contour that’s edgy and elegant. Just like Too Faced would want for you!
While this top-rated contour palette is universal for most skin tones, it’s especially gorgeous on our olive beauties! Shade + Light adds dimension and accentuates the warmer tones in your skin, without making you look green, washed out, or ashy. The worst. With three contours and three highlighter powders that are often used by top celebrity makeup artists, each of these silky and pigmented hues is designed to help you put your best face forward. With colors ranging from taupe and peach to beige and brown, these shades catch the light in unbelievable ways, and can be easily built up from muted to Instagram glam in no time. One MIRA guest says, “this is definitely my favorite! It isn’t harsh either,” while countless others talk about the blendability and beauty of Shade + Light. Especially for olive skin!
“I really appreciate and love the fact that the colors give my skin tone a golden tan glow - NOT an orange glow. This product stays in place all day: it lasts through my 10 hour work shift and beyond honestly!” Indeed, the biggest detail when contouring your olive skin is to not look too orange. Since you already have gorgeous warm tones in your complexion, you need to accentuate them… not overpower them. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Pro Palette Highlight & Contour by NYX. It features four contours and four highlighters that are each ultra-pigmented, and blend out beautifully on your skin for a lit-from-within radiance. Customize your contour effects for chill days at home or virtual date nights, as there are plenty of shades in this NYX favorite to light up your look.
Don’t let the “foundation” in the name fool you, as this essential by Make Up For Ever can be used in plenty of ways while doing complexion makeup. Like an impeccable contour for deeper skin tones, perhaps? This creamy, buildable formula fits perfectly into your cheekbones, on your jawline, and around the forehead - and can be seamlessly blended to transform your look. When contouring, the key is finding a shade that’s approximately two shades deeper than your natural skin tone. This shouldn’t be a problem, as the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick is available in 50 (!) colors that guarantee everybody is covered. Once you’ve found the best shade to do contour makeup on your deeper skin, you can also choose a hue that’s significantly lighter to highlight along with it!
“This works like a dream! It is so creamy and soft, which blends easily. If you buy this set (there are different shades for each skin tone), you get a concealer, contour, and highlighter.” Fenty Beauty has always been about inclusivity, and as this MIRA review states… the Match Stix Trio is available in four sets for each skin tone - including deeper complexions. It includes two Match Stix Matte Skinsticks to conceal and contour, while a Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick highlights and completes your look. Each light-as-air, extremely blendable product looks naturally radiant for Rihanna levels of glam, just like you would expect from an inclusive and extraordinary brand like Fenty. 93% of MIRA guests say that these products are long lasting, and 89% agree that they’re smooth and pigmented!
“The new #blackradiance contour palette is LIT! I've been loving how it adds dimension to the face and the shades actually run dark enough to actually sculpt!” Jackie Aina said it about the True Complexion Contour Palette a few years back, and it’s just as true today! The shades in True Complexion are unlike most others you’ll find in a contour palette - stepping away from the million shades of brown for touches of cocoa, burnt orange, and gold. It may only include three shades to contour, sculpt, and highlight - but it defines your deeper skin to perfection and accentuates your features like never before. Jackie has been open about her struggles to find beauty products for her skin tone, and you can always trust her (and MIRA!) to provide the best inclusive and high-quality products for your complexion.
Find all the best contour makeup products for your skin tone on MIRA.